What in the world is a pangolin?


The world is currently facing a "Pangolin Crisis".

Pangolins are small animals covered in scales. Though sometimes confused with reptiles, they are mammals! These scaly cuties mostly live across Africa and Asia, typically residing in forests and grasslands.

The African white-bellied tree pangolin exploitation for bushmeat and traditional medicine has caused 97% reduction in the wild population. This means they are going extinct. The drastic decline is affecting wild populations because larger, potentially older animals, are hunted and removed from the wild. The full extent of this change cannot be determined because there are no criteria to determine the age for this subspecies. Without the ability to determine the age, we also cannot provide appropriate care for individuals that have been rescued from the wild or confiscated.

Veterinarians are required to develop guidelines to estimate pangolin age by using diagnostic tools routinely used in veterinary medicine. In this Wild Animal Health Fund study, we proposed new research to understand the growth and development of the African tree pangolin by using radiographs (x-ray imaging) and (blood work) combined with fecal samples and body size assessments. We will combine these methods to determine juvenile from adults and develop a guideline for age estimates for all pangolin of this species. 

The overall goal is to develop tools to determine the African tree pangolin growth and development and to identify issues for conservation and health assessments.

Help us keep this species from going extinct!

Animals can't ask for help. That's why we're here.

The Wild Animal Health Fund advocates for the injured, sick and dying animals all around the world. With your help, we can make a difference.